Dodgers Report: Hiroki Kuroda

Is Kuroda worth the draft pick? Um, yeah

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
11:01
AM PT
Because the New York Yankees made a qualifying offer to pitcher Hiroki Kuroda (and he turned it down), signing Kuroda would cost a team -- say, the Dodgers -- their first-round draft pick.

It has become fashionable to say that signing Kuroda wouldn’t be worth the pick, the No. 19 overall selection. Really? Not sure I’m buying that one.

Drafting, signing and developing players are the only ways for most teams to have sustained success. But, unless you’re drafting in the top 10 or so and picking the most freakish players in the country, the baseball draft is important only in the aggregate.

If the Dodgers think Kuroda, at 38, could step into their rotation next season in the No. 3 or 4 spot and give them enough balance to reach the World Series, should they really step aside because of some high-school pitcher in North Carolina or some college shortstop from West Covina?

Let’s get real. The baseball draft, unlike those in other sports, is still a ridiculous crap shoot.

The Dodgers had 15 first-round picks between 2000 and 2009. Seven of them have never reached the major leagues. Two of them, Ben Diggins and Bryan Morris, each pitched five major-league games. Diggins’ cup of coffee came for the Milwaukee Brewers, Morris’ with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Of the six guys who made it, Clayton Kershaw is the only star. Chad Billingsley is the only semi-star. James Loney, Scott Elbert, Blake DeWitt and Luke Hochevar have all been serviceable major leaguers at times, but are hardly worth sacrificing a World Series run for.

Giving up the draft pick should play into the Dodgers’ thinking as they compare Kuroda to the other options, but -- come on -- it’s far from a determining factor.

Dodgers may have an edge for Hiroki Kuroda

November, 16, 2012
11/16/12
12:07
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There might be a reason why the Los Angeles Angels have reportedly gotten involved in trying to sign free agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.

Previously, teams have been under the impression that Kuroda would either re-sign with the New York Yankees or return to his native Japan to finish his career. But Kuroda has told friends that his first preference is to pitch in Southern California, where his two daughters are attending elementary school.

That means the Dodgers and Angels could be the frontrunners to acquire the 37-year-old right-hander, who is coming off his finest season in the major leagues. Considering Kuroda spent his first four seasons in the United States with the Dodgers, they would have a presumptive edge.

Largely due to financial constraints while they were in bankruptcy, the Dodgers did not make Kuroda a formal offer when he was a free agent last winter -- though he was coming off a season with a 3.07 ERA and more than 200 innings pitched. He went to New York and went 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA.

A source with knowledge of the Dodgers' plans said Friday that Kuroda “seems to have many options.” Kuroda turned down the Yankees' one-year qualifying offer of $13.3 million, so that salary would seem to be the starting point for negotiations. The Dodgers would forfeit a draft pick to New York in order to sign Kuroda.

The fact he is reportedly seeking only a one-year deal would fit the Dodgers’ needs perfectly since, even if Chad Billingsley undergoes elbow surgery, he should be ready some time in 2014.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Clayton Kershaw
WINS ERA SO IP
21 1.77 239 198
OTHER LEADERS
BAY. Puig .296
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239